One has only to open today almost any newspaper published in the United States, Europe, or the Middle East (at least), and you will find some story about Islam, Islamists, or some other variant of this designation. I would remind you that had you done this same thing in the 1950s, the opposite would have been true. There were extremely few stories about Islam in the newspapers, even in the Middle East. What has changed? To understand the current situation, we have to trace the entire history of the political importance of religious affiliations in the modern world-system since the long sixteenth century.